George Brett couldn’t believe his ears.
While holding court with a gaggle of TV reporters from San Antonio ahead of the Royals’ split-squad games Friday and Saturday at the Alamodome, Brett was told the dimensions of the stadium.
Right field features a 16-foot wall that is 270 feet from home, Brett was told while the Royals players were jogging to a field to begin stretching.
“Oh, my God,” Brett said. “Hoz, are you going to San Antonio?”
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“If you’re going,” first baseman Eric Hosmer responded, “I’m going.”
In seeming disbelief, Brett repeated the number: “It’s 270 down the right field fence — 270. Oh, yeah, Hoz is going (and) Moose, Gordo...”
While the dimensions of the Alamodome sound like a dream for left-handed hitters, Alex Gordon and Mike Moustakas are not, in fact, going. But Hosmer will be there, as will centerfielder Lorenzo Cain and starting catcher Salvador Perez. Paulo Orlando, Christian Colon, Reymond Fuentes and Danny Duffy also will make the trip.
Pitchers Edinson Volquez (arm fatigue) and Yordano Ventura (flu-like symptoms) were initially going to pitch in the two games against the Texas Rangers, but both were scratched as a precaution. Right-hander Dillon Gee will start on Friday, with right-hander Chien-Ming Wang going Saturday.
Also staying behind for games in Surprise are Kendrys Morales, Drew Butera, Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar.
“It’s different,” manager Ned Yost said. “It’s tough, the logistics of it, splitting your team up into two teams. ... Guys are going to play two or three days in a row, but we’re at about that point where we need to do that anyway, so just go and do it.”
The strange right-field wall, which is really about 280 feet from home, is a product of the Alamodome being built for football and basketball. There isn’t room for the normal dimensions of a baseball field.
According to the San Antonio Express-News, the Alamodome’s floor seating is retractable, which provides a bit more room to squeeze in a baseball diamond. Another interesting feature: A catwalk 160 feet above the field, which is turf.
This is the fourth straight year that the Rangers will be playing games in San Antonio during spring training as part of MLB’s “Big League Weekend.” Last year, attendance topped 46,000 for the games.
Royals infielder Cody Decker spent parts of three seasons in San Antonio, home of the Padres’ Class AA team. While that team doesn’t play games at the Alamodome, Decker has fond memories of his time in Texas.
San Antonio’s River Walk is a prime attraction with its restaurants and bars and party scene.
“I’ve been here for almost a month, so the idea of breaking up the monotony is pretty nice, getting a change of scenery is pretty nice, playing in front of a whole different group of people is pretty nice,” said Decker, who is not traveling for the game. “I think the guys that are going are really going to enjoy it.
“You’ve got the River Walk there, man,” Decker continued, chuckling. “The River Walk is legit. I have never made a good decision there. That place is just full of poor decisions in my past.”